Measuring redshifts using X-ray spectroscopy of galaxy clusters: results from Chandra data and future prospects
Department of AstronomyBeijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, PR China
2 INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, via G.B. Tiepolo 11, 34143 Trieste, Italy
3 INFN – National Institute for Nuclear Physics, Trieste, Italy
4 Dipartimento di Fisica dell’Università di Trieste, via G.B. Tiepolo 11, 34131 Trieste, Italy
5 ESO – European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild Str. 2, 85748 Garching b. Munchen, Germany
Received: 30 November 2010
Accepted: 9 February 2011
Context. The ubiquitous presence of the Fe line complex in the X-ray spectra of galaxy clusters offers the possibility of measuring their redshift without resorting to spectroscopic follow-up observations. In practice, the blind search of the Fe line in X-ray spectra is a difficult task and is affected not only by limited S/N (particularly at high redshift), but also by several systematic errors, associated with varying Fe abundance values, ICM temperature gradients, and instrumental characteristics.
Aims. We assess the accuracy with which the redshift of galaxy clusters can be recovered from an X-ray spectral analysis of Chandra archival data. We present a strategy to compile large surveys of clusters whose identification and redshift measurement are both based on X-ray data alone.
Methods. We apply a blind search for K-shell and L-shell Fe line complexes in X-ray cluster spectra using Chandra archival observations of galaxy clusters. The Fe line can be detected in the ICM spectra by simply analyzing the C-statistics variation ΔCstat as a function of the redshift parameter, when all the other model parameters are frozen to the best-fit values. We repeat the measurement under different conditions, and compare the X-ray derived redshift zX with the one obtained by means of optical spectroscopy zo. We explore how a number of priors on metallicity and luminosity can be effectively used to reduce catastrophic errors. The ΔCstat provides the most effective means of discarding wrong redshift measurements and estimating the actual error in zX.
Results. We identify a simple and efficient procedure for optimally measuring the redshifts from the X-ray spectral analysis of clusters of galaxies. When this procedure is applied to mock catalogs extracted from high sensitivity, wide-area cluster surveys, such as those proposed with Wide Field X-ray Telescope (WFXT) mission, it is possible to obtain complete samples of X-ray clusters with reliable redshift measurements, thus avoiding time-consuming optical spectroscopic observations. Our analysis shows that, in the case of WFXT, a blind Fe line search is 95% successful for spectra with more than 1000 net counts, whenever ΔCstat > 9, corresponding formally to a 3σ confidence level. The average error in the redshift zX decreases rapidly for higher values of ΔCstat. Finally, we discuss how to estimate the completeness of a large cluster samples with measured zX. This methodology will make it possible to trace cosmic growth by studying the evolution of the cluster mass function directly using X-ray data.
Key words: X-rays: galaxies: clusters / galaxies: clusters: general / techniques: spectroscopic / galaxies: high-redshift / cosmology: observations / galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium
© ESO, 2011